He is addicted to watching movies. Why the writer used gerund after the preposition "to"? , because as known, we use the infinitive after the prepostion (to).

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    We never use the infinitive after the preposition to. The particle to is used to mark the infinitive, e.g. "to watch". There, to is not a preposition. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 20:43
  • So, what we call this case when a gerund comes after to? Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 20:52
  • In this case, the gerund is part of the noun phrase "watching movies", which is the object of the preposition to. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 20:54
  • Prepositions are among the most difficult parts of speech in English for a new learner to understand, and it is even more difficult when you see to and find that it is not always a preposition! It may be easier if you use the word infinitive to mean the entire phrase, e.g.: "to watch, to eat, to laugh," and refer to "watch, eat, laugh," etc, as the unmarked or bare infinitive. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:03
  • Grammatically or meaningfully, what would happen if I exchanged the word watching ( a gerund ) with watch ( bare infinitive) ? Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


To here is an ordinary preposition, not the infinitive marker. With words derived from the stem addict- it introduces the substance (literal or metaphoric) to which one is addicted:

The thief was addicted to heroin.
She has an addiction to 17th-century metaphysical poetry.
He is addicted to making snarky comments on ELL.

The -ing form is employed here as a 'gerund'—that is, a verbform which may act externally in most roles of an ordinary noun, including standing as the object of a preposition.

  • I gather you are not a member of the gerund-participle movement. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:06
  • If you have a second, the chicken soup wants stirring. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:11
  • @P.E.Dant I don't much care for the term, which marries contemporary understanding of the form to outmoded names for (some of) its distinct uses. I'm toying with referring to the -ing and -en forms as "gerple" and "papple", but mostly I just call it the -ing form. However, our users are more likely to have been taught (badly) the term 'gerund', so I mention that and throw in a free definition. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:12
  • I've used gerund for the same reason, and because "-ing word" looks so misbegotten, with the hyphen sticking out in front. IMO there's much to be said for gerple and papple, but next thing you know the portmanteau will arise like a manticore and claim the title gerpapple. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:20
  • @P.E.Dant Or we could refer to all three non-finite forms as the infingerpapples. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:37

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